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4. Exhortations and Thanks

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. 19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. 22All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

23The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

6 But in all things It is the singular number that is made use of by Paul, but is the neuter gender; the expression, therefore, is equivalent to omni negotio, (in every matter,) for (prayer) and (supplication) are feminine nouns. In these words he exhorts the Philippians, as David does all the pious in Psalm 55:22, and Peter also in 1 Peter 5:7, to cast all their care upon the Lord. For we are not made of iron, 234234     “Car nous ne sommes de fer ni d’acier (comme on dit) ne si insensibles;” — “For we are not of iron nor steel, as they say, nor so insensible.” so as not to be shaken by temptations. But this is our consolation, this is our solace — to deposit, or (to speak with greater propriety) to disburden in the bosom of God everything that harasses us. Confidence, it is true, brings tranquillity to our minds, but it is only in the event of our exercising ourselves in prayers. Whenever, therefore, we are assailed by any temptation, let us betake ourselves forthwith to prayer, as to a sacred asylum. 235235     “Comme a vne franchise;” — “As to a privilege.”

The term requests he employs here to denote desires or wishes. He would have us make these known to God by prayer and supplication, as though believers poured forth their hearts before God, when they commit themselves, and all that they have, to Him. Those, indeed, who look hither and thither to the vain comforts of the world, may appear to be in some degree relieved; but there is one sure refuge — leaning upon the Lord.

With thanksgiving As many often pray to God amiss, 236236     “Autrement qu’ils ne doyuent;” — “Otherwise than they ought.” full of complaints or of murmurings, as though they had just ground for accusing him, while others cannot brook delay, if he does not immediately gratify their desires, Paul on this account conjoins thanksgiving with prayers. It is as though he had said, that those things which are necessary for us ought to be desired by us from the Lord in such a way, that we, nevertheless, subject our affections to his good pleasure, and give thanks while presenting petitions. And, unquestionably, gratitude 237237     “La recognoissance des benefices de Dieu;” — “Gratitude for God’s benefits.” will have this effect upon us — that the will of God will be the grand sum of our desires.

7. And the peace of God Some, by turning the future tense into the optative mood, convert this statement into a prayer, but it is without proper foundation. For it is a promise in which he points out the advantage of a firm confidence in God, and invocation of him. “If you do that,” says he, “the peace of God will keep your minds and hearts.” Scripture is accustomed to divide the soul of man, as to its frailties, into two parts — the mind and the heart. The mind means the understanding, while the heart denotes all the disposition or inclinations. These two terms, therefore, include the entire soul, in this sense, — “The peace of God will guard you, so as to prevent you from turning back from God in wicked thoughts or desires.”

It is on good ground that he calls it the peace of God, inasmuch as it does not depend on the present aspect of things, 238238     “De ces chc.ses basses;” — “Of these low things.” and does not bend itself to the various shiftings of the world, 239239     “N’est point en branle pour chanceler selon les changemens diuers du monde;” — “Is not in suspense so as to turn about according to the various shiftings of the world.” but is founded on the firm and immutable word of God. It is on good grounds, also, that he speaks of it as surpassing all understanding or perception, for nothing is more foreign to the human mind, than in the depth of despair to exercise, nevertheless, a feeling of hope, in the depth of poverty to see opulence, and in the depth of weakness to keep from giving way, and, in fine, to promise ourselves that nothing will be wanting to us when we are left destitute of all things; and all this in the grace of God alone, which is not itself known otherwise than through the word, and the inward earnest of the Spirit.


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